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"Unfortunately, I can tell you almost nothing. I do not wish to pose as a man knowing the secrets of the Beyond. Although we have awakened the marvellous powers of the subconscious mind to such an extent, there are still mysterious depths which we have been unable to penetrate. The trouble is that when we fakirs escape from the body we pass into a condition similar to that of sleep-walkers, that is we are unconscious of our existence and yet we exist, and when we return to bodily life we are unable to remember anything of our apparently supernatural adventure. It may be that we have explored the regions of the world of spirits, but as we do not remember our experiences we can say nothing of that world. Our slumber is so deep that it is just like the animal hibernation of those animals I have mentioned to you/'
This was indeed to be regretted. That a man who had "died" not a few times, as had Tahra Bey, should be unable to britfg back any brighter report was decidedly disappointing. If complete blankness, sheer unconsciousness, lay beyond the grave—it was paradoxically a living blankness. I expressed my disappointment at such negative result.
He shrugged his shoulders.
"We must respect facts as we find them," he replied. "However, I believe that I returned, as in real death, to reunite my soul with the Universal Soul, the Unknown Force. In that sense, I believe we are immortal."
I wondered how the Universal Force—or God, if you like— could be an infinite state of complete unconsciousness, for I derive his mind from an unconscious being—Man—could derive his mind from an unconscious Being—God. But I did not raise the point because it would land me in a theological argument, and I was dealing, here, with scientific facts. Nevertheless, I respected Dr. Tahra Bey's frank explanations as I was sure he described his experiences exactly as they had occurred.
He proceeded to tell me the story of a curious case of burial. A well-known fakir had been buried alive, in the year 1899, at Tanta; Dr. Tahra Bey's native town. He had predetermined to awake not before the iyth May, 1925. When the allotted date arrived, he was disinterred and found to be still alive. The flesh was in perfect condition and all his organs sound, except that he had lost the power of speech. Six months later the man died.
I asked Dr. Tahra Bey why the man had died so soon.